I first saw a Mini Special in a shopping Centre in 1979 and fell in love. Trouble is I couldn’t afford it…it had an 1100cc engine, in silver or rose metallic, with clubman bumpers and black vinyl roof. The interior had lovely tartan check cloth upholstery; two spoke steering wheel and 3-binnacle dashboard (like the 1275 GT). This was to be the only production model with a centre console under the dash as standard. With a clock, cigar lighter and radio…in a Mini, it was all too much.
Looking very smart on wider wheels, with black wheel arch extensions, it looked the business and with only 5,100 to be built. Although initially it was to be a 2500 run, it soon over doubled!
Fast forward twenty-one years and my eldest daughter has reached 17 and passed her test, eagerly looking for a first car. At the same time I spotted a Mini Special, one owner for sale in Plymouth, so off I set to buy it. The owners lived in a very smart bungalow, although the seller was approaching 90 and had given up driving, but hadn’t been able to part with the Mini. As a fellow Mini enthusiast, he had been persuaded, on the phone from Manchester, to part with it! It hadn’t been run for a couple of years but fresh petrol and new plugs/points and off it went, although it sorely needed new tyres, as one let me down before I got home. Suffice to say its octogenarian owner was a little astonished that I planned to drive it home.
Suffice to say my daughter was delighted with her car and ran it for a couple of years until sub frame (rot) and other problems intervened. I tidied the bodywork, replaced the sub frame and offloaded it for the same money.
This was one car I should have kept…seems there are only 60 left!